Tickets for All Hallows Improv Scarytelling on Oct. 25

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Halloween is a sacred time for dark fiction readers and writers alike. On Sunday, October 25 at 7 p.m. (MT), Denver Horror Collective is proud to present a first-of-its-kind, improvisational horror storytelling event via Zoom sure to spook and scar anyone misfortunate enough to attend.

Thriller master Carter Wilson (author of The Dead Girl in 2A and Mister Tender’s Girl) and a formidable roster of over a dozen seasoned and emerging Colorado horror writers will exhibit their dark arts by spinning three original horror tales on the spot, round-robin style, while you watch and listen from the (relative) safety of your home.

All Hallows Improv Scarytelling is a fundraiser for the November publication of CONSUMED: Tales Inspired by the Wendigo, Denver Horror Collective’s second horror fiction anthology featuring Wrath James White, Dana Fredsti, Owl Goingback, Steve Tem, and others, and edited by Hollie & Henry Snider.

General admission tickets are on sale via Eventbrite for $5 along with three $50 tickets where a few V.I.P. (Very Intimidating People) will get the chance to kick off the stories using their very own pre-written prompts.

The 4th Circle: Interview with Bobby Crew

Interview by Desi D

  1. What’s your favorite line in a book/movie? And why?

This is probably the most difficult question I have ever been asked. The first line that popped up in my head was, “The evil that men do lives after them; The good is oft interred with their bones,” by William Shakespeare from Julius Caesar

I love this line for many reasons. Someone can be a good person almost all their life and then ruin their entire memory in a single act of violence or a single horrible decision. As a reader and writer, I love a good villain, and I think the greatest villains are those that aren’t entirely bad, those who have been warped into believing that the evil they do is justified or necessary. I love the unreliable narrator’s perspective because you can show this happening throughout the book through the eyes of the main character.

  1. As a writer, how would you describe your muse? And your process?

My muse is a dark, vile, torturous, goth sprite, and she is easiest to summon at night with offerings of wine and the shitty day I’ve had. 

Writing has always been a way for me to escape and empty out my emotional energy. I love the creative process. Creating has always been my way to retreat to another world…granted, this other world is always horrifying. 

I have been writing horror since I was eight years old. I draw inspiration from dreams, and sometimes I warp personal traumas into supernatural abstractions. I’ve always been a night owl, so usually once everyone else is asleep and I’m truly alone, I get to play in the dark corners of my mind. 

  1. What author has been your biggest inspiration to write? And why?

I probably owe my entire desire to write to R. L. Stine. I hated reading when I was 7, and then I was introduced to the Goosebumps books. I immediately fell in love. I lived two buildings down from a big library, and I used to go there by myself to borrow them. I spent a lot of time at the library as a little kid. 

When I was 8, I decided to try writing creepy stories of my own. My parents were a little worried at my violent and graphic content, but they let me be, encouraged me, and I have been writing ever since. 

  1. What is it about writing that excites you? And of course, what’s the next story we can look forward to reading from you? 

I love creating worlds, characters, stories, and trying to create that creepy atmosphere in writing. Once I complete a draft, there is always this exciting rush, and I’m just like, “Wow, did I really just pull all of these pages out of my head?” 

I’ve recently published a collection of horror stories called Dining with Devils, seven stories that explore what happens when you get a little too close to your demons. I’m currently working on my first novel called Helping Hands, it’s a working title, and probably the most thought-provoking and thematic horror story I have ever written. It has a lot of cultish and sexual undertones and explores how we can take even the most beautiful messages and turn them into horrifying realities. 

The 4th Circle: Interview with Joy Yehle

DHC active member Joy Yehle
  1. What’s your favorite line in a book/movie? And why?

“There’s little good in sedentary small towns. Mostly indifference spiced with an occasional vapid evil–or worse, a conscious one.”
– Stephen King, Salem’s Lot.

I like to imagine the dark in everyday situations and in the unexpected evil right next door. To me, nothing is scarier than an evil that can walk around in the light, nowhere is safe. Stephen King eloquently lays that out here. Small, quiet towns are supposed to be safe, but what if they’re not?

  1. As a writer, how would you describe your muse?

I think my muse is a bizarre crossbreed of an evil sorceress, a shaman, a serial killer, a terrified five-year-old, a vampire hunter, a scientist, and a Sunday school teacher. Not complicated at all!

  1. What author has been your biggest inspiration to your writing? And why?

My great uncle Will C. Minor was a naturalist and author. We visited him over many summers, and I saw how he created these amazing things to share with his words and a typewriter. In my eyes, he was the original Indiana Jones and I wanted to be just like him. I love the outdoors and do my best writing there, however my writing took a much darker turn than wildlife stories.

  1. What is it about writing that excites you? And of course, what’s the next story we can look forward to reading from you?

I love creating a whole world out of nothing. I feel truly free when I let my imagination run wild across the page. My most terrifying and exciting thing, however, is watching the face of a person who reads my stuff and hits that ‘What?!’ moment of scare!

I’m working on two novels and a couple of short stories right now. One novel is a dystopian YA that reality has possibly derailed! The other novel is inspired by a spooky childhood story I was told about a dark entity that feeds on despair titled Malvado, I hope to have this one ready for release by the end of the year.

Denver Horror Collective Pandemic Fund

DENVER HORROR COLLECTIVE PANDEMIC FUND

As we all know, the COVID-19 pandemic has tragically taken the lives of tens of thousands of people across the globe and infected many more. Even among those of us who remain healthy, many have lost significant income or even their jobs.

While people everywhere are struggling, often the most effective way to alleviate suffering is to act locally. With this in mind, Denver Horror Collective has launched the DHC Pandemic Fund to provide a tiny bit of much-needed cash flow to our greater community of Colorado dark fiction writers.

Through GoFundMe we hope to raise at least $1,666 to disburse in the form of seven separate mini-grants—$666, $500, and five $100—to writers in need (names of applicants will be kept private).

Those kind and generous enough to contribute to the cause will be rewarded with signed copies of the works of some of our Colorado horror masters—including Steve Rasnic Tem, Stephen Graham Jones, Carter Wilson, and Graeme Davis—as well as hard- covers, paperbacks, or e-books from local greats Bobby Crew, Lanie Goodell, Ian Neligh, Gary Robbe, Josh Schlossberg, Warren Hammond & Joshua Viola, Joy Yehle, and Denver Horror Collective (MORE INFO ON GIFTS BELOW).

So, if you’re able, please consider digging deep into your pockets to help out your local horror writing community…just be sure to wash your hands afterwards.

Sincerely,
Denver Horror Collective


***YOUR CHOICE OF THE FOLLOWING BOOKS FROM COLORADO HORROR AUTHORS IN EXCHANGE FOR YOUR GENEROUS DONATION***



$100

Signed paperback of UGLY BEHAVIOR  by Steve Rasnic Tem     

Signed paperback of  MONGRELS  by Stephen Graham Jones

Signed paperback of FINAL CROSSING  by Carter Wilson

 Signed hardcover of MORE DEADLY THAN THE MALE  by Graeme Davis

Signed hardcover of COLONIAL HORRORS  by Graeme Davis

 
$35

Signed paperback of DREAD  by Joy Yehle

Signed paperback of MADNESS MURDER AND MAYHEM IN THE COLORADO ROCKIES by Ian Neligh

Signed paperback of LUNAE LUMEN  by Lanie Goodell

Signed paperback of DINING WITH DEVILS  by Bobby Crew

 

$25

Signed BROADSWORDS AND BLASTERS Issue 11  featuring Gary Robbe’s short story “A Touch of Shade”

Paperback of DENVER MOON  by Warren Hammond & Joshua Viola 

 

$20

E-book of TERROR AT 5280‘  by Denver Horror Collective

 

$10

E-book of the short story, HANDGINA , by Josh Schlossberg

The 4th Circle: Interview with Sean Murphy

DHC Active Member, Sean Murphy
  1. Name one horror author you admire and explain how they helped you become a better writer.

I admire Stephen King. I read On Writing and that seemed to speak to me. I found inspiration in it and in his story.

  1. As a writer, what would you choose as your mascot and why?

I like writing horror based in medicine and science, so I’m going with a plague doctor (current situation notwithstanding). I like the gothic look of a traditional doctor. Plus, they are wicked creepy!

  1. Name six of your favorite horror movies or books. Elaborate on any of them.

Books: It – Scared the crap out of me and I read it as an adult. Dracula – Classic story and character. Love it! Illustrated Man – Not traditional horror, but still a great and creepy story.

Movies: The Thing – Best. Movie. Ever. Salem’s Lot – First horror movie I watched. It holds a special place in my heart. Paranormal Activity – The movie I used to introduce horror to my boys, who were 9 and 7 at the time. We watched it as a family, and they still remember it and the nightmares.

4. What is it about writing that excites you? And of course, what’s the next story we can look forward to reading from you?What is it about writing that excites you? And of course, what’s the next story we can look forward to reading from you?

I get excited by new ideas and new spins on current stories. I love trying new things and bringing horror elements to genres that may not be typical horror setting; they don’t always work, but it’s worth a shot! I have two more short stories I’m working on, a WWII story and another short. I’m trying to get a novel idea to form, but it’s a slow road.

“I Started the Fire” by Denver Fallux

“I started the fire.”

A voice broke the silence that filled the room.

Startled, Em knocked over her sealed Nalgene water bottle, which clattered loudly to the floor. Not bothering to pick it up, she rose from her chair, struggling to keep from cursing at the sudden interruption.

“Who’s in here?” she asked. “What fire?”

Quickly, she walked around her desk, meaning to catch whichever boy had snuck downstairs past dorm time. Nobody. The office wasn’t nearly big enough to hide in, it was barely more than a closet stuffed with two desks. Perplexed, Em stepped from the small office and into the large cafeteria in which it was located.

The overhead lights, ancient as they were, hummed steadily overhead. Nobody here either. The tables were folded and stored to the side of the wall on the far end of the room opposite her office with the plastic chairs stacked neatly beside them. The cafeteria was big enough to hold the entire facility, between the staff the residents and the day-school students, there were well over a hundred people, she guessed. And when it was packed away like this for the night, it was almost cavernous. Again, nowhere to hide, she was alone.

A small crew of residential kids had been down here only fifteen minutes earlier, loudly sweeping and mopping as part of chore time. She’d laughed along quietly while doing her work in her office as the crew of teens joked with each other in the next room while they cleaned, occasionally turning the volume up just a bit too loud on the beat-up antique of a boombox that lived in the mop closet whenever a favorite new hip hop song played. Randall, the staff member supervising the clean-up, wasn’t the type to silence the kids – unlike many of the staff there – but Em always loved to hear the kids enjoy themselves, so she had no complaints.

That didn’t mean she didn’t enjoy the silence too, when it came. The gentle hum of the building was usually a soothing song to which she would finish the last of her days paperwork.

Suddenly, standing alone in the large cafeteria searching for a disembodied voice, the silence was oppressive — thick. Em was certain she’d heard the voice speak, just as she was certain she was alone. It had been a boys voice, in the limbo of early puberty – deep but still youthful.

Still hoping it was a prankster trying to startle her, Em walked into the main hallway of the building, walking a few feet to the left then the right, searching for some sign of one of the residents. Seeing nobody, she walked back into the cafeteria and checked that the doors to the pantry and kitchen were securely locked. They were. 

She walked slowly back to her office, ears perked for the slightest sound of movement, eyes scanning closely even as she lost hope of finding anyone. Sitting back at her computer, she rubbed her forehead and tried not to think too hard.

She’d heard the stories of the ghosts that haunted this aged building, of course. One of the supervisors who had conducted her tribunal-style job interview had even jokingly asked if ghosts were a deal-breaker. But she always laughed it off whenever it came up, feeling like it was just a running joke. Having been a lifelong skeptic towards anything she couldn’t observe, she’d never once considered that anyone could have been serious.  

But here, without warning, she’d begun to feel close to thinking things she simply didn’t want to think. She considered streaming a playlist from her phone to break the silence, but her shaking hands struggled to navigate the touch screen. Her eyes just couldn’t seem to focus on her computer monitor when she attempted to return to the email she’d been drafting.

Giving up, she packed her belongings into her backpack and promised herself she’d come in early the next morning to finish up.

—–

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The 4th Circle: Interview with KD Webster

Denver Horror Collective active member, KD Webster
  1. Name one horror author you admire and explain how they helped you become a better writer.

Prior to joining the DHC I’d only read two horror books. The Amityville Horror by Jay Anson, when I was around ten years old, scared the crap out of me. To this day, I still can’t read that book. The other was The Entity by Frank De Felitta. I was a teenager at the time. It was about a spirit-like creature that kept stalking a young single mother with three children. It attacked her night and day, but no one could see the creature but her. No one believed her either. Even as an adult this story stays with me.

Now that I’m a seasoned writer (with all of a year under my belt), I’ve been more engaged in reading more with an emphasis on the stories than the authors, with a hope that one writer will stick with me enough to read more.

  1. As a writer, what would you choose as your mascot and why?

I’d choose a raven. For two reasons, one it represents both genres I write in, horror and fantasy. In horror, the raven is associated with terror, creatures of the night, and Edgar Allan Poe. And we all know Poe, right?

And in my fantasy series the main character is part of a team called the Revyns (pronounced as Ravens), the team’s logo is the outline of a blackbird’s wings.

  1. Name six of your favorite horror movies or books. Elaborate on any of them.

The Nun…made me sleep with the light on (yeah, I said it).

The Blair Witch Project…I grew up hiking and playing in woods just like those.

Paranormal Activity…to me it looked so real!

The Amityville Horror…I read the book as a kid, by myself, at night. Creepy.

It (the original movie)…because they all float down here!

The Descent…one of the most original horror movies I’d seen at that time.

4. What is it about writing that excites you? And of course, what’s the next story we can look forward to reading from you?

The evolution of the story, from birth to maturity. The spark that inspires the idea. The idea that molds the plot. The plot that forms the story. I have a few things in the fire, but in terms of horror, I have two that stand out.

One is the next installment of the Urban Legends, Electric Avenue. It takes place in a speakeasy type place with underground card games, pool, and dice games. The speakeasy moves from place to place. Most people don’t think it exists, that it’s an urban legend. But if you want to play a game where the reward is worth the risk, dear ole Scratch can get you an invitation.

The other is the next book in the Adrian’s Children series. For those that don’t know, Adrian’s Children tells the ongoing story of Adrian Crisp, set in a modern-day world where Crisp is the first vampire. The first book tells the tale of how Adrian became a vampire, his trial and errors in creating more vampires, and the ones he successfully turned. The second book focuses more on his vampire children, and his plans for creating even more. Starring: Prominent, the first successfully turned Dark Child. Then Ozymandias, who Adrian banished to a cave. Daniel Hosea, the journalist chronicling Adrian’s life as a vampire. And finally Jason March, a former marine turned cop. He’s been hunting Adrian from his escape from prison before his transformation into a vampire.

Okay. Time to get back to writing.

Terror at 5280′ Snags #2 Slot on Denver Post Bestseller List

Terror at 5280’, Denver Horror Collective’s horror fiction anthology published in November, earned the #2 slot on Denver Post’s local bestseller list for paperback fiction for the week ending January 26, 2020.

Terror at 5280’ editors include Denver Horror Collective members Josh Schlossberg, Gary Robbe, Melinda Bezdek, Lisa Mavroudis, Thomas C. Mavroudis, Desi D, Bobby Crew, and Jeamus Wilkes. 

All 22 Terror at 5280’ stories are penned by Colorado authors, including Bram Stoker Award® winning horror master Stephen Graham Jones, USA Today bestselling thriller author Carter Wilson, as well as the following Denver Horror Collective members and Colorado-based horror fiction writers: Matthew Lyons, Lindsay King-Miller, Rebecca S.W. Bates, Carina Bissett, Joshua Viola, Joy Yehle, Gary Robbe, Cindra Spencer, Thomas C. Mavroudis, Melinda Bezdek, Henry Snider, Josh Schlossberg, Angela Sylvaine, Grace Horton, Jay Seate, Desi D, Sean Murphy, Bobby Crew, P.L. McMillan, Travis Heermann, Jeamus Wilkes.

The anthology’s cover art was created by The Rïpröck and its layout by Henry Snider (both Denver Horror Collective members), with a foreword by Horror Writers Association President John Palisano and an afterward by HWA Colorado’s Larry Berry.

Terror at 5280’ is available at a variety of Denver bookstores including Tattered Cover, Mutiny Information Café, Tennyson St. Coffee and Books, Bookbar, Broadway Book Mall, West Side Books, and Barnes and Noble; 2nd and Charles in Broomfield, Aurora, and Littleton; and in Boulder at the Boulder Bookstore, Trident Café, Bookworm, and Barnes and Noble. 

The anthology is also available online via Indiebound.org, Barnes and Noble (paperback and Nook), Powell’s, and Amazon (paperback and Kindle).

The 4th Circle: Interview with Angela Sylvaine

Denver Horror Collective active member and Terror at 5280′ contributor, Angela Sylvaine
  1. Name one horror author you admire and explain how they helped you become a better writer.

Though I didn’t begin writing until I was in my mid 30s, my love of horror blossomed with reading Christopher Pike in Junior High. When I started writing, I initially tried to write in more of a literary style, and I tried genres that just weren’t a good fit for me (contemporary, romance, science fiction). I realized I needed to embrace writing what I enjoyed rather than trying to meet the expectations of others. It was my love of Christopher Pike that helped me realize young adult horror was my passion, and when I gave myself permission to write this instead of worrying about the judgment of others, I started enjoying myself and saw more success in selling my work.

  1. As a writer, what would you choose as your mascot and why?

My immediate instinct is to say a cat, but I think that’s just because I love them. Really, I think my mascot would be a crow or raven. They’re black, and I love wearing black. They’re intelligent and adaptable, which I strive to be. They’re also loud, which I definitely am. They hold funeral rites for deceased crows and a group is called a murder, which is just generally spooky. I also loved Poe’s poem “The Raven” from the first moment I read it, and even named my first cat Lenore. Now if only I could learn to fly…

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Moonlit Dream Girl

– by Douglas D. Hawk

Watching from the moon night shadows, his dementia distorted her, remade her, morphed her into Dream Girl. Standing in the small clearing, she was radiant and stunning, a vision of love and adoration; a delusion of lust and wanton possession. The silky skirt molded around her, clinging to her thighs, and the sweater hugged her body, amplifying her plentiful breasts.

Seemingly unconcerned and unaware of her admirer, her stalker, shadowing her as she meandered without a care in the world, Dream Girl stepped off the sidewalk. She started strolling across the grass, snaking her way among Denver City Park’s multitude of trees. The zoo and museum were closed. There were no late night joggers or strolling lovers. It was after midnight and the empty park was illuminated by June’s bright full moon. The Strawberry Moon. 

Strawberries, her admirer thought, the color of blood. Would her blood taste as sweet?

As her stalker moved with the stealthy grace of a puma, Dream Girl paused, her head turning so her beautiful, moon-washed features stood out in the darkness. Her expression grew curious and for a fleeting moment, the hint of a frown touched her exquisite mouth. 

He knew that Dream Girl sensed him. He was predator, she was prey. His smile was feral. Yet, as he watched, her frown vanished and her expression grew impassive. That annoyed him. Soon she would comprehend the danger and like all prey, her blood would turn cold, her gut would clench and she would run. Run for her life. Run to her death.

The stalker sighed at the thought. The chase. The inevitable capture. The consummation of his desires and his lust. 

Dream Girl paused for only a few scant seconds and then resumed walking among the trees. If she was worried, it did not show. Her stride was leisurely, her exquisite body relaxed. Moving effortlessly, she exuded the easy confidence of one unconcerned about the night and the moonlit darkness and what might lurk in it. Her naiveté heightened her stalker’s hunger. At the end, innocent prey was so gratifying. The struggling. The screaming. The begging. 

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